Carpenter Bees get their name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for the rearing of their young. These are worldwide in distribution with 7 species occurring in the United States. They do not have a hive like Honey Bees but are solitary Bees. The female Bees can get into small areas boring holes. (Allied Pest Control can take care of this problem with the Carpenter Bees)
The Female Carpenter Bee will bore a channel or corridor in the wood from 6 inches to 4 feet long to lay their eggs in galleries. She will deposit an egg, bring in a mass of pollen for the newly hatched larvae to feed on, and then seal it off to ensure its development before she repeats the process for the next egg. This is the time when the Carpenter Bee does structural damage to the wood she is laying eggs in. If woodpeckers hear the larvae they will destroy sections of wood in the nest area just to get at the larvae.
The adult Carpenter Bee body length is about 1/2 inch to 1 inch. They are robust, resembling bumbles bees with the top surface of their abdomen mostly bare and shiny. The Carpenter Bee male has a yellow face, while the female Carpenter Bees face is black. They can resemble bumble bees, but the bumble bees have a hairy abdomen with at least some yellow markings
Signs of Infestation From Carpenter Bees
Carpenter Bees get their name from their ability to drill through wood and nest in it. Their drilling will create a nearly perfect hole approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. You will see round holes and a course sawdust-like substance called frass underneath where they have drilled their holes. You may find new holes near the old holes. They can re-use the old holes to nest in. Their holes are usually located on their underside of any wood surface including sills, soffits, overhangs, decks, fence posts, facia boards, and window frames.
Habits of Carpenter Bees
During the spring, the males seek out the females, hovering around the females that found some unfinished wood such as under eaves, railings, etc. The males are territorial and will confront you if you enter their territory, but are incapable of stinging. Female Carpenter Bees have a stinger but are very docile. Females will nest in all types of wood but prefer weathered and unpainted wood. They love the darker colors of stained wood. Male Carpenter Bees tend to be territorial and can buss around you if you approach closely, sometimes hovering a short distance in front of your face or buzzing around your head. Since male Carpenter Bees have no stinger, these actions are just for show and intimidation. This usually works against the homeowner.